I love “comfort books,” and that is what this book is for me. I originally read this series almost 20 years ago, and reading it again brings back that time in my memory. So to me these books aren’t just about the story that they tell, but they are also as much about what they remind me of from my life as a younger man. I freely admit that this has some bearing on my rating of the book.
I won’t go into the story itself as that is more than adequately covered in the book description on Goodreads, and if you want to read the story synopsis you can easily read it there.
Now as to the book itself, it is a quintessential example of military space opera from the late 80’s and early 90’s. The story is more about characters, the growth that they undergo, and the trials and tribulations that they endure than they are about the military aspects of the story. This was just before military sci-fi took a turn and became military fiction with a sci-fi veneer, so we don’t have the detailed battle movements, the elaborate ship maneuvering, or any of the other trappings you might expect from a military book.
The story is really quite well written, and I personally cannot tell what author wrote what part of the book. To me the writing style in the book speaks more of Elizabeth Moon than it does of Anne McCaffrey, though frankly, both are beloved authors of mine. The character development and progression is deftly handled through the three distinct phases of the primary character’s life. There is a nice balance between the different elements in the story, and I really can’t complain about the writing style. Sure, it isn’t Hugo material, but it is a solid, easy to read story with just enough complexity to make it interesting.
If you are looking for a good “comfort book,” or just a nice trilogy to read you can’t go wrong by trying this one out.